The Journey of Success or the Success of the Journey?
It’s hard to believe that August is gone and we are in the second half of the year. Before we know it, we will we counting down the days towards Xmas. Spring is sort of in the air in Perth. We can see it in the blooms but the chilly mornings and rainy days still make us wonder if spring is really just around the corner. August in Perth is also the time of the City to Surf. Chris O’Neill won the marathon, creating a 5 minute gap between him and the next contestant. Chris O’Neill’s success in winning the marathon, made me reflect on success and how we perceive it. Whether we should refer to the journey of success or the success of the journey.
How do we define success?
The Oxford dictionary defines success:
“The accomplishment of an aim or purpose”
In every day life, we often lose sight of the simplicity of the definition. We end up aiming to accomplish what others deem to be success rather than to go back to working out our own aim or purpose.
Chris O’Neill has won some races and in others he came second. Or did not even come second at times. Interestingly, Chris’ slogan is “living life 1km at a time”.
Chris wins marathons because he works on each kilometre of his life. For the rest of us non-marathoners, it means one foot in front of the other.
One step at a time.
It is the same in life and business. We can make it all very complicated, but in the end, our success is determined by our own why. Our own reason why we take each step, even if we make it a slow step.
How do successful people see SUCCESS?
Satisfaction: John Wooden, basketball coach
‘….peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.’
Alignment with values: Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh
‘Your personal core values define who you are, and a company’s core values ultimately define the company’s character and brand,’
‘For individuals, character is destiny,’
‘For organisations, culture is destiny.’
Having fun: Author, Maya Angelou
‘liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.’
Keep going: Winston Churchill
‘going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.’
Chipping away: Thomas Edison
‘1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.’
The journey depends on WHY we choose the mountain we climb
I know there must be a technical definition to “mountain” but this is not about being technical. It is about working out what we see as success and what “mountain” we choose to climb.
Sometimes we choose to climb the “one-step-at-a-time” hill, others pick the “1km-at-a-time” mountain and others live to climb Kilimanjaro. It is everyone’s unique choice.
It really depends on who we are and why we want to climb a particular mountain.
It is so easy to fall for the mountain of someone else’s “overnight” success and you find many people selling their winning recipe. Mountains are similar to intellectual property – we all have a recipe that is unique and we all have a mountain that is unique. We all have our unique WHY and therefore our recipe for success will be unique too.
If the journey depends on the mountain we choose to climb, does the success depend on the journey or the mountain?
My children tell me that I make the worst puns. Somehow I think in this case they would tell me that I am really bad at playing with words. But, in my defence – think about my question.
Does success depend on the journey or the mountain?
If we pick a small hill to climb, success would be so much easier. The bigger the mountain, the more effort we have to put into the journey. The higher the mountain, the more likely we are to encounter huge boulders or mountain walls that we either have to find a detour around or have to learn to scale. And sometimes we have to go down the mountain and start from scratch.
Success is a risky business.
Success lasts one moment at a time – until we achieve the next milestone. Think about Chris – winning the marathon in Perth does not guarantee him that he would win the next marathon.
I recently attended a network event where one of the Quickflix founders presented on the lessons learned as a disruptor being disrupted by Netflix. Now, one can look at this experience as a huge failure but I don’t think it is. I think is is just part of the journey.
From my view of the room, I saw massive lessons learned, resilience built and an opportunity to climb a different mountain; now with lots more hindsight, better insight and because of the hindsight – some foresight. I saw a company that had to change direction and find a different mountain.
The journey or the success of the journey?
Is it about the journey or the success of the journey?
I would really love to hear your thoughts on this.
To me, it still is about the success of the journey. The success of the journey aligns with understanding our why.
When we focus on why, then instead of:
- following someone else’s mountain and definition of success, we will be able to frame success to fit our own unique mountain.
- being slaves to industry tradition and the oh-so-boring “this is how we always do it”, we will change the industry;
- looking to find the right answer, we will make sure that we find the right question and then the solution will follow;
- managing or dictating, we will lead;
- falling for the same old thinking pattern, we will think differently about success;
- instead of wandering aimlessly, we will achieve our aim and purpose.
Why all this talk about the journey or the success of the journey?
I have to admit, that I had immense trouble to put pen to paper or keyboard to newsletter this month. A huge thank you if you have managed to stay with me so far.
This month none of the typical procurement or tendering stuff wanted to flow. No, my newsletter had to be about success and the journey of success. It had to be about the all important WHY.
It is all about WHY after all
In the end, it does not matter whether we agree or do not agree on the answer. If we do not find our WHY – both in business and in life, we end up either climbing mountains that get us nowhere.
Business success comes through knowing your why, understanding your clients’ why and knowing how to combine the two.
Finding the right procurement and competitive opportunities that will grow your business.
I am really good at asking why and helping companies accomplish their aim or purpose.
Let me know when you are ready to work on your business WHY.
Until next month!
Have a great day!
“We find comfort among those who agree with us – growth among those who don’t.” Frank Howard Clark, American Screenwriter
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